NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away it is my pleasure to introduce to you the four people who are going to play the game. We have Peter Jones, we have Derek Nimmo and we have Kenneth Williams. We also have a guest. Returning from previous triumphs we welcome into the guest seat Alfred Marks. Will you please welcome all four of them! The creator of the game, Ian Messiter usually sits beside me, he blows a whistle when 60 seconds is up, he keeps the score. Unfortunately he can't be with me this week, but fortunately for me the lovely Anne Ling is with me, and she will do the functions that Ian Messiter did. I'm going to ask our panellists to speak if they can on the subject that I give them and try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And let's begin the show this week with our guest Alfred Marks. Alfred, talking to plants.

ALFRED MARKS: Some years ago botanists and scientists said that if you talk to plants they will flourish and they will nurture and they will grow better. I used not to subscribe to this, I do now, since Prince Charles himself has admitted that he himself does talk to plants...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PETER JONES: Repetition of himself.

NP: That's right, I'm afraid you repeated himself. So Peter you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that and you take over the subject of talking to plants. And there are 41 seconds left starting now.

PJ: Well I believe in talking plants also, but not in a very nice way. I think it's best to be perfectly firm and stern with them. Like "don't droop! Stand up, blooms upwards, facing the sun, with your ah leaves..."


NP: Alfred Marks has challenged.

AM: He was carried away with standing upwards and blooming and he hesitated, I'm afraid.

PJ: Yeah I did, I did.

AM: Lots of ers and ums.

NP: Alfred you have a point for a correct challenge and you have 26 seconds to continue talking on, speaking on talking to plants starting now.

AM: Taking a leaf from His Royal Highness's book, I decided not only to talk to plants but to love plants. And I do indeed do just that. Not only do I talk to them, I take them to bed, I kiss them, I feed them, I play music. Now I hesitate, I must remind you, that when I say I take a plant with me to sleep, I talk about the female plants of course, because I'm not bent! And I take my walkman out because I put them on the head of the plants and they listen to music. It's difficult because some African violets...


NP: Well Alfred Marks got the subject back and he was speaking as the whistle went, and he gets an extra point for doing that. And at the end of the first round he's naturally in the lead. And Derek Nimmo, we'd like to hear from you so will you take the next round. And the subject, Methodists.

DEREK NIMMO: Methodists was started really by John Wesley in Oxford in the 18th century, as part of the Anglican communion. It didn't actually start a separate grouping until 1791 after John had died. But I always remember that wonderful line of Oscar Wilde that made me laugh so much when he said never make love to a Methodist standing up, because it could lead to dancing. Now I think that is so terribly funny, but I just think it's such a lovely idea. Because you see Methodists aren't very keen on waltzes and paraglides and military two-steps, or at least they weren't at the time. Now Lord Soper is a good chum of mine. I often toddle along to see him standing around in Hyde Park Corner spouting away. And he said that the Common Book Of Prayer to him is rather like the pyrist might think of a harp...


NP: So Derek Nimmo started with the subject of Methodists and kept going without interruption for the full minute. So he gets one point for speaking as the whistle went and a bonus point for not being interrupted. So another round of applause for Derek. At the end of that round, Derek Nimmo with his two points is equal with Alfred Marks in the lead. And Peter Jones has a point, Kenneth Williams is yet to speak, and um Peter your turn to begin, the subject film. Will you tell us something about that in 60 seconds starting now.

PJ: Well it's a wonderful medium. And I go to the cinema whenever I can. The names of directors appeal to me really more than stars. Billy Wilder's name for instance, Robert Altman and a number of the continental people. They really act like magnets, and I make my way towards these wonderful edifices, there aren't many of the large ones left. But such as they are I like to frequent as frequently as I can.


NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.

KENNETH WILLIAMS: Well we seem to have come to an enormous pause.

NP: I think a full stop entirely.

PJ: It was, yes, it was ah...

NP: You just wandered into one of those edifices.

AM: Time to reload as it were!

PJ: Yes!

NP: Right so Kenneth, you have a point for a correct challenge, you have the subject, you have 31 seconds, film starting now.

KW: The first film I did, the director to whom my colleague has drawn such distinguished applause, was very rude to me and said "with a close-up, it looks like the Blackwall Tunnel, your nose, so keep well away!" I felt terribly downcast. And for me all films should be like Merle Overon was done, through a gauze. Because then you see, all these impediments...


NP: I'm trying to visualise what you'd look like through a gauze, Kenneth! Anyway Kenneth you kept going till the whistle went, you gained that extra point. And at the end of that round, you're equal with Alfred Marks and Derek Nimmo, and Peter is one point behind. And Kenneth it is your turn to begin, something which you regularly do, the next subject, gripping the audience.

KW: Well audiences are obviously gripped when there is suspense going on. I mean the minute they become involved and think what's going to happen now, then they are on the edge of their seats, so to speak, with this kind of suspenseful excitement. And this is a delightful thing to watch if you are in a house and feel part of the action going on up there at the stage. All those glorious people like Bee Boo, no, what was her name?


KW: I was thinking of her, Boulet, was it?

NP: Boulet, yes.

KW: What was her first name?

NP: Evelyn.

AM: Evelyn.

KW: Evelyn, I said Bee and Boo, that's what ruined me.

NP: Well anyway Alfred, you got in with a correct challenge, gripping the audience and there are 22 seconds left starting now.

AM: I have never or rarely ever seen an audience more gripped than during my sojourn at the Windmill Theatre in London's famous Piccadilly. There the famous nude shows first...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of famous.

AM: Famous, absolutely yes, it was very famous mind you.

NP: Yes. Derek you have the subject, gripping the audience and there are 11 seconds starting now.

DN: Early in my career I had quite a different nose and I used to play rather sinister parts. I remember playing a rapist in a play called Johnny Belinda. And I had to go and steal from this poor little deaf girl down this well, her baby. And I picked it up...


AM: I don't think we'll leave that, I'd like to hear the end of that.

KW: You pinched her baby?

DN: Yes, on stage.

KW: Oh I see.

DN: And a woman was so carried away by the magnificence of my portrayal, that as I wandered off stealing the poor little dumb girl's baby, she said "put it down, you bum!" And that's why I gripped the audience, it was the first and last time, I might say. I've never done it since.

NP: So let's get back to Just A Minute. Alfred your turn to begin, the subject, junk food.

AM: We have I suppose to thank America for what is laughingly called junk food. Although some scientists and nutritionists have said that in fact it's not junk food. It contains vitamins, iron and all the things we need and require for a whole day's healthy living. I for one am not very fond because I have a wife fortunately who is a wonderful cook. On the other hand do you call takeaway Chinese food junk food? Do you call takeaway Indian food junk food?


NP: Derek Nimmo has challenged.

DN: Two takeaways.

AM: Takeaway yes, well there were two takeaways, there was a Chinese and a, yes, an Indian you see!

NP: But you took away too much.

AM: I did indeed yes.

NP: So um Derek you have the subject of junk food and there are 43 seconds left starting now.

DN: The best way to obtain food for your junk is to leave the harbour of Aberdeen on Hong Kong island, sail past Lantao and down to the small island of Poitoi where there is a wonderful...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: Well deviation, we're not on junk food, we're on navigation.

DN: I'm telling you where you get it!

PJ: Well I know Derek, but we all know that you, we all know that Derek has to scour the world looking for work! Because he can't get a job in this country! But I don't think he ought to drag it in all the time!

NP: Well whether he drags it in or not, he keeps going in Just A Minute. But Kenneth you have a correct challenge and you have junk food and there are 29 seconds starting now.

KW: (very very slowly and deliberative) I can speak from personal experience that I was...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Wrong speed!

KW: How dare you!

NP: Oh we'll do what I've done before. Give Peter a bonus point for a lovely challenge...

KW: Oh yes he's so witty, isn't he! At other people's expense!

NP: It invariably is, isn't it, but you can't help that.

KW: No, he can't help. I've got to sit here looking like a lemon, don't I!

NP: You could never look like a lemon!

KW: How do you think I feel! Humiliated like that! Wrong speed as though I'm some sort of freak!

NP: Do you ever think that Kenneth could look like a lemon?


NP: I take it all back Kenneth! Right...

KW: Terrible house we've got here!

NP: You do get a point of course for being interrupted.

KW: Oh good.

NP: But you keep the subject as well, it is junk food and there are 22 seconds left starting now.

KW: On a boat, on a canal, I was given this...


NP: Alfred Marks has challenged.

AM: Repetition of breathing!

NP: Carry on.

AM: He's breathing all the time. And it's getting on my nerves frankly!

NP: And you're trying very hard...

AM: When you get it out of nostrils like that kid, I mean oh dear, you know what I mean?

NP: I do know what you mean. But he wasn't repeating anything which he shouldn't in Just A Minute, because it is the words. Alfred, lovely to hear from you...

DN: I think there are a lot of very unfortunate personal attacks on Kenneth Williams today.

AM: Yes.

DN: And I think you ought to stop them, Mister Chairman.

AM: Yes! Would you stop making personal attacks on Kenneth Williams?

NP: Kenneth you still have the subject which is junk food and there are 12 seconds left starting now.

KW: And they shovelled all this chilli con carney down me, well I was up half the night! What went with it was some sort of oriental muck called saki or something like that. And of course you see I never knew...


NP: So Kenneth Williams was then speaking as the whistle went and he now has gone into the lead.


NP: Alongside Derek Nimmo who now begins the next round. And Peter I'm very sorry about this because I didn't think up the subjects, Ian Messiter did. It is another sort of travel subject really for Derek.

PJ: Oh it is? There you are, you see.

NP: It is the Taj Mahal.

PJ: Ah!

NP: So Derek will you tell us something about the Taj Mahal in Just A Minute starting now.

DN: Well last time I went to the Taj Mahal, looking for work because nobody would employ me in this country, I happened to arrive at moonlight which is already...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Lunatic place to go!

NP: Looking for work?

PJ: Yes of course! What could you possibly do there?

DN: I was doing my snake act, like a snake charmer.

NP: So what was your challenge? He was deviating?

PJ: Yes.

NP: Why?

PJ: Because he said, he admitted that he was looking for work, and that he went to the Taj Mahal. Or does he mean the Taj Mahal Restaurant in the Edgeware Road?

NP: It is a very...

PJ: Where he could have got a job as a waiter.

NP: It is a very devious idea.

DN: I kept talking about the Taj Mahal.

NP: But I think we will allow him poetic licence in the sense that he was went over to the Taj Mahal. So he continues with the subject of the Taj Mahal and there are 52 seconds left starting now.

DN: The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jihan in the 17th century because he loved greatly his third wife, Mahal, who is buried within that great sepuka. And in fact she bore him 14 children and it was while she was trying to produce the fifteenth. And he intended to build another Taj next door in black marble. And in fact if you go there from Agara, you wander down to go across through the red port, you can see the foundation of this other Taj that was going to be built for his own body to rest within. In fact his son overthrew him and he was taken away to this great castle built in this rosy coloured sandstone and imprisoned by this one boy. And could only see the Taj Mahal for the rest of his life through an emerald in the ring on his finger...


NP: Derek Nimmo started with the Taj Mahal and finished with the Taj Mahal, and he's now in the lead at the end of that round. And Peter Jones your turn to begin and the subject is a good turn. So will you tell us something about that subject in the game starting now.

PJ: Well I think of the people in the old music halls who were often very good turns. Norman Evans, now he was a very good turn. He used to do one, Over The Garden Wall. It was a sort of drag act and he took his teeth out and he gossiped to an imaginary neighbour on the other side of this edifice. And he was dressed very neatly in a sort of spotted blouse, you never saw the skirt because it was concealed on the other side of this imaginary ah...


NP: Derek Nimmo.

DN: He's sort of gradually crumbling to a stop.

PJ: Yes.

DN: A lot of hesitation.

NP: Often after 30 seconds he does begin to crumble a little. But...

PJ: Yes.

NP: I'm afraid I agree with the hesitation challenge, and there are 31 seconds for you Derek on a good turn starting now.

DN: When I joined the wolf cubs which is as you know a sort of paramilitary organisation, you had then to recite in front of the whole pack. I promise to do my best, to do my duty to God and the King, to keep the law of the pack...


NP: And Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: Oh we had a lot of to dos.

NP: Yes we did.


NP: So Kenneth let's hear from you on a good turn with 11 seconds left starting now.

KW: It was my gran who did Grey Starling. (singing) She pulled away for the dashing spray, over the waters blue...


KW: Marvellous song!

NP: That was a very good turn you did then.

KW: Well it didn't take much to get her going! They used to say buy her another half of brown ale, she'll do another one. Always coming out with numbers, marvellous songs she had.

NP: And it is Kenneth your turn to begin, Victoria Sackville West. Will you tell us something about her, Ian Messiter thinks that you can give us information on these erudite subjects. I'm sure you're up to it and you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

KW: Well I suppose she achieved most fame with this book All Passion Spent. And she was married to Harold Nicolson and they had this house. And sitting out in the garden there, she conceived the idea, I think it's quite extraordinary, of having roses trailing over one's head in an arbour. And when I saw the result of this luxuriant profusion I could only say that I was filled with a kind of horticultural dismay. On the other hand she was a close friend of Virginia Woolf, and used to shout out in Bloomsbury "hi Vi" when she came by. They were very thick and very many people maintained that she had a certain preference for the ladies...


NP: Well the round of applause was not only for your impersonation...

KW: You tell 'em the truth! Go on! Tell 'em the truth! Nobody else wanted Vita Sackville West!

NP: I think it was also your erudition, and so...

PJ: Anyway it takes a long time to say it, doesn't it, Victoria Sackville West and Mrs Harold Nicolson.

NP: Yes.

PJ: Takes quite a long time.

NP: And Virginia Woolf and all the other names...

PJ: Exactly, yes! If they give me anybody, I suppose it'll be Proust!

NP: So you get one point Kenneth for speaking as the whistle went...

PJ: Well...

NP: ... one point for not being interrupted so you have two from that. And Peter Jones has another point for amusing the audience just then. So what have we got to? Alfred Marks it's your, oh, let me give you the... Kenneth Williams is in the lead! Ahead of Derek Nimmo, and Alfred Marks and Peter Jones are equal in third place. And Alfred you begin the next round, the subject, my birth sign. Will you tell us something about that in the game starting now.

AM: Having been born in January, January 28th to be precise, I...


AM: I know, I know, I know! Of course I'm a guest and should be, have preference so they don't sort of pick on me like that.

NP: Five seconds, we like to let the guests get under way. But it was a correct challenge and if you come in with a correct challenge, I have to be fair within the rules of the game Derek, and say you are right. You have another point, you have the subject of my birth sign and there are 55 seconds starting now.

DN: I was born on the 19th of September so I am a Virgo...


NP: Alfred Marks has challenged.

AM: That is a damned lie if I ever heard one! That is a deviation which is what he is!

NP: Right so as you're a guest and the audience obviously approve your reaction, and also your challenge, we give it back to you, my birth sign...

AM: Sucks boo!

NP: Fifty seconds starting now.


NP: And Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: Well, a pause, I mean it was a hell of a pause! I've never known, I mean he hangs about and all this wipes his nose, gets up for a look round, I mean...

NP: I wasn't, I wasn't fair to Derek when he challenged then, and so I wouldn't be fair to ah Derek...

KW: There's nothing fair about you! You've dyed your hair, I can tell!

NP: I can assure you that's not true. But what's it matter on radio, I can't do anything, can I?

KW: You can tell a mile off can't you!

NP: Right, if anybody wants to write in for a lock of my gold spun hair, I can send them one and they can have it analysed. Alfred I'm not going to allow that challenge either because you are a guest and it wouldn't be fair. So therefore you have my birth sign still with 47 seconds left starting now.

AM: My birth sign is Aquarius, known as the water carrier. Which at my age is not quite true! Now some people believe in birth signs, I do not however. And I do not read the horoscope in the papers. I think it is a load of twaddle. I cannot possibly imagine that a little bushman from Africa, born on the same day as I was, is going to suffer the same fate tomorrow as i am going to. I refuse to adamantly believe this. I also...


AM: Believe.

NP: Derek Nimmo has challenged.

DN: Repetition of believe.

AM: Believe.

NP: Yes you did have too much believes.

AM: Two believes yes.

NP: Derek you take the subject back of my birth sign and there are 18 seconds left starting now.

DN: Virgoans are supposed to be very fastidious fussy people. They even put a newspaper under a cuckoo clock. And they always say that when a person born under my sign makes love, a lady that is, she always closes her eyes. It's not because she's prudish, but she hates to see her husband enjoying himself! I don't know whether that's true because I...


NP: With those devious thoughts from Derek Nimmo he brought the subject to a close, an extra point for speaking as the whistle went. And Derek your turn to begin, the subject locks. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

DN: Well if you wander up St Jeans's between Bennett Brothers and Rug and Logs, you will find the very distinguished hatter called Locks. With a lot of very old and mouldy toppers and things in the window. If you go inside however they're all bright and shiny and new, and they charge you the most exorbitant prices for the occasional Panama. (in Clement Freud voice) I do think however that if I was Mister Clement Freud, and everybody likes to have, to do their voices today, I would think about locks in the way that you have a key and open it before you go into the House of Commons. And then...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: Well I can't hear anything!

NP: No he was also deviating because he wasn't being Derek Nimmo, he was trying to be Clement Freud, wasn't he?

KW: That's right! I thought that was deviation.

DN: Well he was Malcolm Muggeridge!

NP: Well...

KW: It was deviating wasn't it.

NP: Yes but so there we are Kenneth, I agree with your challenge and you have the subject of locks starting now.

KW: I had to negotiate several lochs when I was once on the river Thames. And as we approached Henley, an old crone who was turning the wheel at one, told us that she had Romany Backrub and would we like...


NP: So this week it's a neck and neck contest between Kenneth Williams and Derek Nimmo who are now equal in the lead at the end of that round. And we only have one more round to go, and Peter Jones begins with having a nice day.

PJ: Well I would say on the whole that one's companion is probably the most important ingredient if one is hoping to have a nice day. The weather would help and what one has to eat, where one goes, the sort of ambience of the place if it's indoors. Or if it's outdoors then the ah panorama...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: Then the ah panorama.

NP: You have a point, you have the subject, you have um 45 seconds starting now.

KW: Well it's important to note you...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Something wrong with that, wasn't there? A sort of snort in the middle.

NP: Everybody in the audience is clapping with laughter whether they agree!

PJ: There was a snort, wasn't there?

NP: There was a snort but I don't think he actually hesitated or deviated, no no.

PJ: He did something that er...

NP: He did something!

PJ: What?

NP: He's always doing something! We never know what next!

PJ: Yes.

NP: So Kenneth I will allow you the benefit of the doubt and say will you please continue with 40 seconds left on having a nice day starting now.

KW: having a nice day means not what Peter Jones said about company. It means not having to bother with anybody at all and just pleasing yourself. And so you wander down the Strand as the song says...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ:You can't wander round, down the Strand on your own. I mean there must be other people there at every hour of the day, even in the small hours of the morning.

NP: Did he say on your own?

DN: Yes.

PJ: Yes.

NP: Oh I was trying to get the clock working actually at the time. So Peter Jones, you have 25 seconds on having a nice day starting now.

PJ: Walking from say Trafalgar Square in the direction of Kingsway, I would hope to meet one or two friends. Because the Green Room Club is adjacent, Charing Cross Station where it's reputed that if you stay long enough you meet everyone in the world! I intend to leave this theatre now and make my way in this direction...


NP: Alfred Marks has challenged.

AM: I regret to say this is a studio and not a theatre. That is a deviation I'm afraid.

PJ: It's a theatre of the air!

AM: It is a studio, it is a studio, my contract...

NP: You see the impossibility of my job, don't you?

AM: It is referred to on my contract as a studio! Never as a theatre.

NP: And before that it was a cinema, so I shall give you the benefit of the doubt, doubt, I'm all over the place Alfred and say yes and say you have two seconds to go on having a nice day starting now.

AM: This is the American...


NP: And Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

DN: Very good! Very well judged Peter, well done!

NP: You've come from nowhere Peter, from no points at all to almost equal with the leaders now, it's in the last round...

AM: Hang on! Hang on! Are you giving him that?

NP: Yes! Because there's only one and a half seconds to go, it's the last round in this particular show so you can have another go if you like Alfred, one and a half seconds starting now.

AM: The Americans are the ones who...


NP: Right! So I apologise for the rather laid-back atmosphere of the last round. But we have now no more time. Let me give you the final score because Alfred Marks with that last point for speaking as the whistle went brought the round to and end, and he moved forward into third place. He was just ahead of Peter Jones who was just behind Derek Nimmo, who was only two points two behind this week's winner, the one and only Kenneth Williams!

KW: Hurray!

NP: A popular win but I do think I should explain to the many listeners, both overseas and in this country that the applause was built up by the histrionic antics of Kenneth as he heard that he was the winner.

KW: Yes, sticking his bum out! What a cheek!

NP: It only remains for me to say on behalf of Peter Jones, Derek Nimmo, Alfred Marks, Kenneth Williams, the creator of the game Ian Messiter, our producer Edward Taylor, we do hope that you have enjoyed this show and will want to tune in again when we have another jam session! Till then from all of us here good-bye!